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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
Students 'told to sue over exams'
Thousands of results could be disrupted by the dispute
Students are being urged to sue universities and colleges over courses disrupted by a lecturers' marking boycott, a report says.

Unions have rejected a 6% pay increase offer as "derisory" and are refusing to mark coursework, potentially delaying thousands of results.

Lawyers are advising students to sue for "breach of contract", the Times Higher Education Supplement claims.

Some are distributing leaflets, while others are visiting campuses, it adds.

One lawyer said: "If students are partly paying for their course out of their own pockets, they will be concerned to make sure they are getting what they are contracted to have.

"There could be a case of breach of contract if the boycott is having a direct effect on their study."

John Brooks, vice-chancellor at Manchester Metropolitan University, said some legal firms had sent leaflets.

Acas is brought in

Meanwhile, the arbitration service Acas has been asked to look at the dispute between universities and unions.

The Association of University Teachers and lecturers' union Natfhe have been offered pay rises of 3% from August this year and an extra 3% from August 2007.

The University and Colleges Employers Association says this will exceed expected revenue from variable tuition fees, payable from this September.

UCEA chief executive Jocelyn Prudence said: "We share the very real concerns of many students that the industrial action now being taken by Natfhe and, in particular, AUT could severely harm their studies."

However, the unions argue that their members' incomes have declined compared with those of other professionals and that strong action is required.

The ongoing marking boycott follows a UK-wide strike on 7 March.

Academics reject 6% pay offer
29 Mar 06 |  Education
Unions praise pay strike response
07 Mar 06 |  Education

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